Sergio Aragones’ Groo vs. Conan is probably the most unlikely pairing since Archie meets The Punisher, which graced us two solid decades ago. Issue #3 of the 4-issue mini-series shows us just how much fun this unusual crossover can be.
If you’ve been dwelling beneath a rock you may not know that Robert E. Howard’s Conan has been with us since 1932. Fifty years later, Groo the Wanderer first showed his face. A parody of the sword-wielding barbarian genre, created by Sergio Aragones, he has been described as, “…a large-nosed buffoon of unsurpassed stupidity who constantly misunderstands his surroundings.” Perhaps it was inevitable that these two warriors would cross swords, but in what world could that happen? Funny you should wonder…
The premise of this storyline is that it takes place on more than one world and apparently Sergio Aragones has been “…overmedicated to the point where he thinks he’s Conan.” The opening scenes, however, courtesy of artist Thomas Yeates, show that things are uncertain in the land where the famed Cimerian dwells. The people wonder if their hero is able to survive in his travels as he takes on the dreaded Groo.
Shifting gears and scenes a few pages later, courtesy of the wonderful Sergio Aragones, much rejoicing is taking place. Word has spread that Groo the Wanderer is dead and that calls for celebration. A stranger, however, disputes that he is dead and begins to explain to the assembly.
Another segue takes us to another Sergio-illustrated segment in what appears to be the “real world” where a Renaissance Fair is in full bloom and Sergio, astride a policeman’s horse, is vowing that Conan has arrived to save the day. Mark Evanier, our writer, is in pursuit, along with the uniformed owner of the horse.
Shifting back to the stranger in Groo’s world, he explains how the encounter between the two warriors took place. The readers are given particular insight into Groo’s “talents” as a warrior. Conan can barely believe what he’s seeing.
Another subplot reveals itself as a developer is trying to shut down a comic shop to make way for his shopping center. Mark Evanier and others are staging a rally to try to save the shop.
Elsewhere, Groo and Conan are in the midst of heated battle and the outcome is not to be believed.
This is some splendid, lighthearted fare with some great humor expertly mixed with dramatic action. It defies categorization, but this reader can only describe it as a fun foray not to be missed with the kind of laughs we’ve come to expect from the mind and art of Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones. Be sure to check it out for yourself.